How doI get a deposit refunded?

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How doI get a deposit refunded?

I’m from Brazil. 3 months ago I was going to LA for studying Englishl. Unfortunately my visa was denied. Since June, I’m trying everyday to get my money back. I have the right to receive my $200(first tuition deposit). Unfortunately I don’t have many options to receive this money. This school is doing everything to hinder that I receive this money. I tried everything, but unfortunately this school does not care about the students. Their rules are unfair. I wanna sue them and to claim a compensation. I need urgently of a lawyer with contingent fee.

Asked on November 11, 2010 under Business Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First, you may not have any grounds for  recovering the deposit. The purpose of the deposit is three fold: first, to compensate the party receiving the deposit in the event the other party does not perform; second to make it more likely that the other party performs by giving them an economic incentive to do so; and third, as compensation to hold the spot, goods, or services. In short, the purpose of the deposit is to be forfeited if the person paying it does not perform. If you could not perform due to circumstances fully beyond your control, that may void the agreement and entitle you to the money back, but whether or not your visa was denied constitutes that is an open question, since it will turn on why your visa was denied (e.g. did you wait too long to apply? do the paperwork wrong? etc.)

Of course, the agreement with the school may give you the right to get the money back. If the agreement provides for a refund, you're legally entitled to it.

That brings up the second issue: typically, in a case like this, all you could sue for is the money owed you--$200. I cannot imagine any attorney taking this on contingency, since even receiving 40% of the fee would be only $80, which is usually less than 1 hour of an attorney's  time. You could try suing yourself, but especially if you're out of the country, it's going to cost  you more time and money than it's worth. There is no cost effective way to get $200 back through the legal system.


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